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Holiday Must-See Movie: 'Into the Woods'

  Intothewoods-merylpoints
"Go to the wood!" is Streep's wish your command? 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Once upon a time Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical classic INTO THE WOODS. The first act brings together classic fairy tale characters into one comic misadventure and the second act debunks the “happily ever after” myth and transforms the whole play into a masterpiece about virtually all the Big Stuff: growing up, parenting, marriage, death, rebuilding after great loss.

Itw_CinderellaWhen it comes to lines we can repurpose to talk about the prospects of a film version, Little Red said it best:

It made me feel excited. well, excited and scared.

Isn’t that how devotees of the movie musical feel each time a new one arrives? A bit of background to justify the high-anxiety. The live-action movie musical died alongside Bob Fosse's alter ego in All That Jazz (1979). The genre was six feet under for two full decades despite intermittent attempts at excavating its exquisite corpse (Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies). The Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s renewed interest and the genre was successfully reborn at the turn of the century by the one-two-three-four punch of Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. That's a four consecutive high quality film run that this ancient-newborn genre has yet to match since. And why is that exactly? Some people blame the lack of strong directors who are skilled in the form, others the resistance to new blood (nearly all modern musicals are adaptations). Still more culprits are Hollywood’s frequent miscasting since musical skill is considered optional.

But The Witch (Meryl Streep) would like us to stop bitching and get on with this review.

No, of course what really matters is the blame
Somebody to blame.
Fine, if that's the thing you enjoy, Placing the blame,
If that's the aim, Give me the blame-

So back to Into the Woods . Does it survive the transfer? With so much baggage brought into the movie theater I’ll admit that a traditional review has been tough to write. So herewith a ranked list of the musical numbers (in their current form) as a sneaky way to coax out all those thorny blinding feelings.

Intowoods-redenters

The list, from worst to best, is AFTER THE JUMP...

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WATCH: Johnny Depp's Bizarre, Rambling, Possibly Drunk Speech at the Hollywood Film Awards

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Johnny Depp, in what could be either be described as a drunken mishap or spot-on Jack Sparrow imitation, took to the stage last night at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards and managed to steal the show with a rambling, incoherent speech while presenting Mike Myers with the Hollywood Documentary Award. 

"That's the weirdest microphone I've ever seen in my life" 

Watch the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...(NSFW language)

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California GOP Congressman Posts, Removes Image Insulting Transgender People

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Commenting on a bill allowing death certificates to reflect the expressed gender identity of the decedent, Devin Nunes [pictured below], a Republican representative for California’s 22nd District, has posted an image insulting to the transgender community on his official Congressional website, reports Queerlandia.

NunesThe post on Nunes’s blog, which appears to have since been deleted, included an image of Johnny Depp portraying the title character in Tim Burton’s biopic Ed Wood. Wood was an actor, writer, director and producer who is best known for his B-movies including “Glen or Glenda” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Wood was open about both cross dressing and his interest in drag.

According to Queerlandia, the image “does not reflect what transgender is, but is clearly an a snarky put-down of both a Democratic attempt to respect a group of citizens long treated poorly by society, and of that group itself.  Nunes should be ashamed.”


Movies: Tonto (and 'The Lone Ranger', Too)

 Loneranger-reviews
Armie Hammer & Johnny Depp reading their reviews 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

If Hollywood has its own wild wild west, a mythic frontier to tame, it is undoubtedly a time rather than a place: Next Summer. And the one after that. Release dates famously come before screenplays and the studios start laying down their tracks to get there: concept, screenplay, pre-production, casting, filming, editing, promotion, release though not usually quite in that sensible artistic order. Budgets often balloon on the way to the imagined gold at the end of the line. Or silver, as is the case with the name of a certain iconic horse, and the coveted metal driving the plot and the literal train tracks in the new version of THE LONE RANGER.

Hollywood hasn't revived The Lone Ranger franchise in over 30 years, for what one assumes are three reasons: westerns have been notoriously difficult sells for modern mainstream audiences; the last time they attempted this franchise, it failed; and the Tonto character opens you up to charges of racism and cultural insensitivity in modern times. But if anyone could revive this dead franchise and skirt these issues, the thinking went, wouldn't it be director Gore Verbinski and his masses-beloved star Johnny Depp (rumored to have some sort of Cherokee heritage, and adopted into the Comanche Nation last year) who together did the impossible 10 years ago in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, making a well reviewed, Oscar-nominated, mega-blockbuster out of a famous amusement park ride while also navigating another even more notoriously pricey and difficult to sell outmoded genre: the pirate movie!

The director and star aren't so lucky this time around. The film's signature image might just say it all...

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Tonto-bird

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Johnny Depp Can't Stop Kissing Jimmy Kimmel: VIDEO

Depp

After being praised for his "beautiful face", Johnny Depp kissed Jimmy Kimmel a total of four times during his appearance last night, admitting that he has a "thing" for talk show hosts.

Said Kimmel later in the segment: "I never realized what an immediate impact the Supreme Court decision would have on both of us, really."

Depp also told Kimmel that "the majority of characters that I've sponged came from playing with Barbies....and GI Joes...equal opportunity...I want to say something though — I played more Barbies."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Michael Stipe and Courtney Love Duet on a Sea Chantey: VIDEO

Stipe_love

RoguesJohnny Depp has produced a pirate-themed album called Son of Rogue's Gallery which comes out next week and a few tracks have already hit the web, including this sea chantey called "Rio Grande" from Courtney Love and Michael Stipe (his first piece of music since R.E.M. dissolved.

Walk the plank, AFTER THE JUMP...

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